Main point summary
We thank God that you have believed His message showing evidences of true belief right while those who do not believe His message are persecuting you and trying to stop the message of salvation from saving others.
1 Thessalonians 2:13-16
And j we also thank God constantly 1 for this,
And this is what we are always getting on our knees to thank God for:
that when you received k the word of God,
We thank God that when you believed as true the very speech of God,
which you heard from us,
which came to you through the words that we spoke to you,
you accepted it
you believed this word
l not as the word of men 2
not because we spoke it to you and not as words coming from us
but as what it really is,
but you took it to be what it actually is,
the word of God,
the very speech of God.
m which is at work in you believers.
This word that we spoke to you which was directly from God's mouth is producing fruit in your lives.
For you, brothers, n became imitators of o the churches of God
We know that this word is bearing fruit in you, our fellow family members in Jesus, because you have been copying the likeness of Christ found in other believers in other churches.
in Christ Jesus
Your copying of the likeness of Christ comes about because of your union with Christ.
that are in Judea.
These other churches that you are copying are the ones spread throughout Judea.
For p you suffered the same things from your own countrymen
We know that you truly are like the other true churches of Judea because you have suffered just like those other churches from your neighbors.
q as they did from the Jews, 1
The other churches suffered from their Jewish neighbors as well.
r who killed both the Lord Jesus
These Jews who are persecuting the church of Jesus are the ones who killed Jesus our Lord himself who was the very word of God in flesh
and s the prophets,
and who also killed the prophets who came before with the word foretelling the gospel
and drove us out,
and who also who drove us out of their territory who are the messengers of God's speech in our time
and displease God
and who displease God himself
and t oppose all mankind
and these Jews don't just oppose us but also they oppose all people!
u by hindering us from speaking to the Gentiles
How could these Jews be opposing all people? These Jews actually put up roadblocks for us to get the direct message of God that we have for all people out to all people.
that they might be saved—
These Jews are trying to stop us from speaking the very message of salvation to all people
so as always v to fill up the measure of their sins.
These Jews are doing this because they have yet to reach a certain quantity of sin before Jesus comes back.
But w wrath has come upon them at last! 1
But wrath has come upon them at last!
This idea of God's word being the speech of God is something I picked up from John Frame in his book, "The doctrine of the word of God."
I did not paraphrase this last sentence because I do not understand it and can therefore not paraphrase it. I looked in my ESV study Bible and the person who wrote the notes does not know what it is referring to either though he does give some possible explanations to choose from but I don't feel competent to choose.
I am not certain that this is what this means. I chose this passage down to this point however because it didn't seem right to cut it off in middle sentence.
Observations: -The thanks given to God is not because this church is free of suffering but because, in the midst of suffering, they believe the word of God and have fruit flowing from this belief. How different from what people usually thank God for. (I especially noticed this because we have just had Canadian Thanksgiving where people share what they are thankful about.) In fact, evidence that they have received the word for what it is is because they are suffering. -God's word goes to work in believers. This is something more than just hearing it with physical ears. -Imitating a fellow believer is not bad. It is even a good thing provided you are imitating the word at work in other believers. -This imitation did not happen absent of union with Christ. The imitation happened "in Christ." Do not try to imitate something on your own. -This type of word being spoken by the apostles if very different than if someone today feels they have a special new word from God to tell someone. This word was definitely the word of God...not just maybe. This word had the power to change believers. This word was for the eternal salvation of all people groups. If someone opposes this word from going out, he heaps up sin on his account and gets wrath.